03:16 PM EDT 10/30/2014

Add PEOPLE News

Connecticut School Shooting

Sandy Hook Elementary Will Be Torn Down

Sandy Hook Elementary Will Be Torn Down

Originally posted 10/07/2013 09:20AM

Newtown voters have accepted a $50 million grant from the state of Connecticut to build a new Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of last year's school massacre.

The unofficial results Saturday were 4,504 for the grant offer and 558 against. The vote was essentially a formality since a task force of Newtown officials decided in May in favor of a plan to tear down the school and build a new one. Sandy Hook students have been attending classes at a school in neighboring Monroe.

State lawmakers had set aside the money to help the town build a new school to replace the one where a gunman killed 26 people last December.

Read More

Credit: Landov; Meg Smith; Courtesy Erica Lafferty
A Weekend of Wedded Bliss: See Who Tied the Knot | Halle Berry, Jimmy Kimmel, Olivier Martinez

What You Missed

Wedding Weekend: Halle Berry & Olivier Martinez; Jimmy Kimmel & Molly McNearney Are Married

Originally posted 07/15/2013 09:35AM

Wedding bells are ringing loud and clear in Hollywood.

Just two weeks after couples NeNe and Gregg Leakes, Scott Weiland and Jamie Wachtel, Narciso Rodrigue and Thomas Tolan, and Star Wars creator George Lucas and Mellody Hobson made their love official, another three couples walked down the aisle.

Read More

Credit: Courtesy Erica Lafferty
Daughter of Slain Sandy Hook Principal Pays Tribute to Mom on Wedding Day

Erica Lafferty, Daughter of Slain Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, Marries

Originally posted 07/14/2013 02:55PM

Erica Lafferty, the youngest daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in December's mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., recently marked a joyous occasion.

On July 6, she married fiancé Christopher Smegielski, at her mother's lake house in the Adirondacks.

That morning, , Lafferty, 27, paid a visit to her mother's grave. And she wore her wedding dress.

"I wanted to let her know how much I missed her," Lafferty says. "No daughter should ever have to do that on her wedding day … and I make sure she is always part of every day, like she always had been."

Read More

Credit: Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee/Reuters/Landov
Newtown Donations: $7.7 Million to Be Divided Among Families

Newtown Donations: $7.7 Million to Be Divided Among Families

Originally posted 07/12/2013 08:00AM

A community foundation given the task to divide up donations received after the Connecticut school shootings made preliminary recommendations on $7.7 million that call for giving $281,000 to each of the families of the 26 children and school educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

The families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the Dec. 14 shootings would each get $20,000; two teachers who were injured would get $150,000 between them.

The foundation was asked to divide up $11.4 million that was raised with the help of the United Way. The foundation previously decided to divvy up $7.7 million to the families and survivors and to have committees decide on uses for the remainder of the donations, including whether to use some of it for future mental health care and other needs.

Read More

Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post/Getty
Judge Accepts Aurora Shooter's Plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Judge Accepts James Holmes's Plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Originally posted 06/04/2013 12:25PM

A judge on Tuesday accepted James Holmes's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, setting the stage for a lengthy mental evaluation of the Colorado theater-shooting suspect.

Holmes is accused of opening fire in a packed Denver-area movie theater last summer, killing 12 people and injuring 70. He is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The mental evaluation could take months.

Holmes's lawyers repeatedly have said he is mentally ill, but they delayed the insanity plea while arguing state laws were unconstitutional. They said the laws could hobble the defense if Holmes's case should ever reach the phase where the jury decides if he should be executed.

Read More

Advertisement

Life After Newtown Shooting: Families Share Their Stories

Originally posted 04/03/2013 05:00PM



They still reach for little hands that are no longer there. They dream of their warm hugs, hoping not to wake up.

For parents of the 20 first-graders from Sandy Hook Elementary School whose lives were cruelly cut short on Dec. 14 their grief knows no bounds.

"We've been given an impossible life to live," says Jessica Rekos's mother Krista. "I don't know how to live my life without my little girl."

At home, many of their siblings keep their memories alive. Daniel Barden's sister, Natalie, is keeping a journal of stories for her brother. Josephine Gay's two older sisters look through old videos to listen to her laugh.

And when Noah Pozner's sister, Sophia, recently put together a Lego spaceship, she announced: "Noah helped me put it together."

Read More

Credit: Google/AP
Sandy Hook Killer's Home Contained Large Arsenal of Weapons

Sandy Hook Killer's Home Contained Large Arsenal of Weapons

Originally posted 03/28/2013 11:40AM

Sadness and shock still continue to build over the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn.

After a three-month investigation, the state prosecutor overseeing the case said Thursday that Adam Lanza, 20, murdered 26 people within five minutes of storming into the school before turning a gun on himself. Wednesday night state police night briefed families of the victims on what was recovered from Lanza's home and car, among other findings.

Among the chilling inventory, reports The New York Times, were a large array of ammunition and weapons that included rifles, knives and samurai swords, as well as damaged computer equipment, journals and a newspaper clipping of a school shooting at Northern Illinois University.

Read More

Credit: Alessandra Petlin; Inset: REX USA
Tony Lusardi III Struggles to Move on After Losing Girlfriend in Sandy Hook Shooting

Tony Lusardi III Struggles to Move on After Losing Lauren Rousseau in Sandy Hook Shooting

Originally posted 03/03/2013 11:00AM

Initially it was Lauren Rousseau's smile that caught Tony Lusardi III's attention on a dating website. He sent her a jokey message, she sent a "ha-ha-ha" back, and a month later they had their first date at a wine bar.

"We hit it off right off the bat," says Lusardi, 30, a sales rep for a tech company. "I am a giant, awkward nerd when I first meet people, but at one point I said, 'Can I kiss you?' " Rousseau, 30, a substitute elementary school teacher, turned red and said, "Yes." When their lips locked, says Lusardi, "I knew she was perfect for me. I thought, 'She's the one.' "

About five weeks later, they made it Facebook official: They were "in a relationship." Young, smitten and feeling they had all the time in the world, 13 months later they were just beginning to hatch plans to move out of their respective parents' homes. "We were thinking we would move in together, get a dachshund – we wanted to name it Pork Chop – and see what happened."

Read More

Credit: Nigel Parry
Gabby Giffords to Meet Privately with Sandy Hook Families | Gabrielle Giffords

Gabby Giffords to Meet Privately with Sandy Hook Families

Originally posted 01/04/2013 08:00AM

Gabrielle Giffords, the former member of Congress from Arizona who was gunned down at a Tucson shopping center two years ago – and then courageously fought to recover from her injuries – will meet privately Friday with the families of the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Conn.

The event will be held at a private home and is not open to the public.

Giffords, 42, sharing a Facebook post from her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, after the Dec. 14 school shootings, said that the time was now to begin a national dialogue on strengthening gun control. This week, she and Kelly met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch gun-control proponent, on the issue.

Read More

Credit: Lucas Jackson/Landov
Sandy Hook Students Return to Classes at New School

Connecticut School Shootings

Sandy Hook Students Return to Classes at New School on Thursday

Originally posted 01/02/2013 11:05AM

When Sandy Hook students return to a new school on Thursday, they will find their setting looking nearly exactly like their previous classrooms, right down to the pictures on the walls.

Before the move, some teachers even took photos of their old classrooms at Sandy Hook to better prepare their new classrooms and offer frightened and traumatized students some comfort as they try to get back to normal after the Dec. 14 shootings that left 27 people dead, including their beloved principal Dawn Hochsprung, ABC News reports.

Read More

From Our Partners